Just four days after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police Officer, Derek Chauvin, and the video sparked protests across the country, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz welcomed in a few dozen African American community leaders to talk at One Government Center.
Mayor Kapszukiewicz acknowledged that Toledo is 652 miles away from Minneapolis, where the incident happened that resulted in Floyd's death. But he said the video made him sick to his stomach and he made a long-term commitment to opening up communication, and having difficult conversations like he had Friday.
In front of the Safety Building after the meeting, the mayor touched on at least two planned protests for this weekend in Toledo.
"There should be protests. Are you kidding me? If now is not the time to protest, after what happened in Minneapolis, I just don't know when you ever would."
Toledo Police Chief George Kral also supported the possibility of peaceful protests.
"Our job as police officers is to allow anyone to protest that wants to protst. That's our job. We're there to protect them as they protest, and that's what we're going to do. As long as everything stays peaceful, they can march where they want, stand where they want, say what they want, and we will defend their First Amendment right to speak."
Chief Kral said the death of Floyd made him very angry, and it was not indicative of police officers across country.
In a Tweet he posted on Thursday, Kral reiterated that there was no explanation for what happened in Minneapolis.
"Let me put it this way. If a Toledo Police crew showed up to a crime and they saw a person kneeling on an unconscious person's neck, that person would have been in handcuffs that night."
The Frederick Douglass Community Association's Reggie Williams was emotional, but encouraged the African American community to unite and stay focused.
"It's hard to see that, that people would want us to be dead. We're human beings, and I am a man. I am somebody."
Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder for the death of George Floyd. He was fired by Minneapolis PD on Tuesday.